Michael Frayn wins PEN/Ackerley Prize 2011

The PEN/Ackerley Prize 2011 has been awarded to Michael Frayn for My Father’s Fortune, published by Faber and Faber.

The PEN/Ackerley Prize is Britain’s only literary prize dedicated to memoir and autobiography. It was established in memory of JR Ackerley, the author and literary editor. Frayn fought off competition from an exceptionally strong shortlist that included leading poets John Burnside and Jackie Kay and Costa Biography Award winner Edmund de Waal.

Peter Parker, chair of the judges said: ‘It is in the nature of the PEN/Ackerley Prize that it often pits books by well-established writers against complete unknowns. This year all four books on the shortlist turned out to be by authors with long and distinguished track records, none more so than Michael Frayn, whose marvellously entertaining and poignant My Father’s Fortune beat off strong competition. Frayn directs a steady, questioning gaze back into his wartime suburban childhood, recreating a vanished world with affection but without sentimentality.’

The prize was awarded at the English PEN Summer Party on Thursday 21 July. Michael Frayn receives a cheque for £2,000.

The shortlist was composed of the following books:

John BurnsideWaking Up in Toytown (Cape)
Edmund de WaalThe Hare with Amber Eyes (Chatto)
Michael FraynMy Father’s Fortune (Faber)
Jackie KayRed Dust Road (Picador)   

•    The PEN/Ackerley Prize was judged this year by Georgina Hammick, Peter Parker (chair), Colin Spencer and the late Francis King. The award is given to a literary autobiography of outstanding merit, written by an author of British nationality and published in the United Kingdom in the previous year. Past winners include Alan Bennett, Jenny Diski, Lorna Sage, Blake Morrison, Barry Humphries and Margaret Forster.
•    Joe Randolph Ackerley (1896-1967) was an author and long-time literary editor of The Listener magazine. When Ackerley died, his sister Nancy endowed the JR Ackerley Prize in his memory.
•    English PEN is an association of writers whose 1250 members include many of Britain’s most celebrated authors and literary professionals. PEN works in Britain and around the world to promote literature and its understanding; to campaign against the persecution and imprisonment of writers; and to promote friendly co-operation among writers.

For further information please contact:
Jonathan Heawood, Director, English PEN
0207 324 2535 jonathan@englishpen.org

Originally posted with the url: www.englishpen.org/news/_1698

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